During the changing economic and social conditions of the 1820’s and 1830’s, there was much hostility between the Bank on the one hand, and rising capitalists, urban workers, and farmers on the other. In this context, Jackson aimed to do away with the Bank. The Bank’s supporters, however, struck back. In a move intended to wrench political support from Jackson, Henry Clay forced a bill through the Senate to recharter the Bank. Jackson vetoed the bill, beginning the long struggle which has become known as “The Bank War.” Jackson defeated Clay in the presidential election of 1832 despite Clay’s efforts. Taking his political victory as a mandate from the people to destroy the Bank, he withdrew federal deposits, thereby setting the stage for the Bank’s eventual death in 1836.
Published in 1967, in Andrew Jackson and the Bank War Robert V. Remini begins by discussing the antagonists in the Bank War: Jackson and Biddle. He states that “the destruction of the Bank occurred because it got caught between [these] two willful, proud, and stubborn men…” He then goes on to details of the struggle, “emphasizing the ways in which the War transformed the presidential office: how Jackson capitalized on the struggle to strengthen the executive branch of the government and infuse it with much of the power it enjoys today.”
Dr. Campbell received his Ph.D. In History from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2013, completing his dissertation on the “Bank War” with a particular emphasis on newspaper editors and political institutions. His first book, developed from this thesis, is scheduled to come out in the fall of 2018 with the University of Kansas Press. He is currently a lecturer at Pasadena City College.